Misconception: You Should Wait For Your Doctor To Mention Cholesterol
You need to take charge of your health. Starting at age 20, ask your doctor to test your cholesterol, assess your factors and estimate your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
If youre between 20 and 39, your doctor can assess your lifetime risk. If youre between 40 and 75, they will assess your 10-year risk.
Once you know your risk, you can take action to lower it. Your doctor may recommend diet and lifestyle changes and possibly medication. Follow all of your doctors instructions and have your cholesterol and other risk factors checked every four to six years as long as your risk remains low.
What Are Ldl And Hdl Cholesterol Ranges
Just knowing your total cholesterol isn’t enough. Not only does the total cholesterol number need to be normal but HDL and LDL numbers need to be in the appropriate range. Normal total cholesterol associated with a high LDL may still increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Triglyceride levels also need to be controlled.
Total cholesterol ranges chart
Why You Need To Get Your Cholesterol Levels Tested
Cholesterol and lipid tests are blood tests that measure the amount of different forms of cholesterol in the blood. All these forms are called lipids. The test measures total blood cholesterol, the levels of HDL , the levels of LDL and triglycerides.
The relation between all these levels can determine the risk for developing a heart disease. Since raised levels are mostly asymptomatic, medical professionals are advising everyone over the age of 20 to have them tested regularly.
Determining if you have high cholesterol can be the first step towards lowering it and therefore reducing risks related such big values.
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Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Without Medication
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood and is also found in certain foods. Ideally, your total cholesterol levels will fall under 200 milligrams per deciliter . Your LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels should fall under 100 mg/dL. And your HDL, or good cholesterol, should stay at 40 mg/dL or higher. If you have high cholesterol levels, changing your lifestyle can go a long way.
Dr. Javier Sosa and our team at Woodlands Primary Healthcare provide blood tests to help identify cholesterol-related risk factors. We can also make lifestyle recommendations that suit your specific needs.
Here are nine ways you can lower your cholesterol levels without medication:
How Often Should You Get Your Cholesterol Checked
The AHA recommends that everyone age 20 or older have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. After age 40, your doctor should assess your risk and determine how often you need to be tested. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says men over 45 and women over 55 should be tested every one to two years.
Be sure to speak with your doctor about testing your cholesterol. High cholesterol is often caused by poor lifestyle choices, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your doctor will look at all your risk factors and determine how closely your cholesterol needs to be monitored.
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Healthy Cholesterol Numbers By Age
It’s not just about how much HDL a person has. There are several other measurements clinicians use to assess a person’s cholesterol and corresponding health risks.
Non-HDL levels are a person’s total cholesterol minus their HDL level. This is not, however, equal to a person’s LDL level. As mentioned, there are a few other types of cholesterol besides HDL and LDL. Though they play a more minor role in heart health, they are still important to measure when it comes to risk assessment. According to the Mayo Clinic, a non-HDL measurement appears to be a better risk predictor than simply measuring LDL levels.
Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter . The following are healthy cholesterol numbers by age for men and women, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine:
Cholesterol Levels by Age Chart
Anyone age 19 and younger
Men age 20 or older
Women age 20 or older
50 mg/dL or higher
As you can see, the difference between healthy cholesterol levels for men and women over 20 years old comes down to HDL cholesterol: Women have a slightly higher range for healthy HDL.
Cholesterol levels do tend to increase as a person gets older. But healthy cholesterol levels remain the same.
Dietary Tips To Avoid Cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have added calcium soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat .
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other storage fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
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Can High Cholesterol Make Me Tired
No, high cholesterol doesnt usually cause fatigue, but it can lead to heart diseases, such as coronary artery disease, that do. With this heart condition, excess LDL builds up as plaque in your hearts small arteries, causing them to narrow and stiffen. This reduces blood flow, which can make you feel tired or short of breath and cause chest pain, notes the NHLBI.
If youre taking a statin to treat high cholesterol, possible side effects could come with fatigue, such as memory loss, forgetfulness, and confusion, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However these are very rare. Mayo Clinic describes this as mental fuzziness. Be sure to discuss any similar symptoms with your doctor.
What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels
A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:
- Diet: Saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in your diet. This will help lower your blood cholesterol level. Saturated and trans fat have the most impact on blood cholesterol.
- Weight: In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, being overweight can also increase your triglycerides. Losing weight may help lower your triglyceride levels and raise your HDL.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can lower total cholesterol levels. Exercise has the most effect on lowering triglycerides and raising HDL. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Age and sex: As we get older, cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, womens LDL levels tend to rise and HDL can drop.
- Heredity: Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
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Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.
Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease and prevent it in the first place is found in a whole-food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.
Surprising Facts About Cholesterol
Sarah KleinSTORY HIGHLIGHTS
- Signs of high cholesterol can show up on your skin as reddish-yellowish bumps
- Low cholesterol can be bad too
- A food low is cholesterol can still raise your cholesterol level depending on the fat content
- Cholesterol numbers are improving, in part thanks to better diets, drugs
— Like most people, you probably think of cholesterol — if you think of it at all — and picture fatty foods and heart trouble.
Yes, elevated blood cholesterol is bad news, and 34 million Americans have levels that can increase their risk of all sorts of health problems, including a heart attack.
But if you think you’ve heard everything you need to know about this waxy fat, there may be a few surprises in store.
For one, cholesterol can be so high that it shows up in fatty deposits in the skin. On the other end of the spectrum, cholesterol can even be too low.
High cholesterol inevitable for some
If you have sky-high cholesterol, it may be partly genetic. But for some families, it’s inevitable that LDL, or bad cholesterol, will be in the unhealthy zone. The disease, known as familial hypercholesterolemia, affects about 1 in 500 people and can cause total cholesterol levels from 300 mg/dL to 600 mg/dL, as well as heart attacks early in life.
Clogged arteries look like butter
Even if you can’t see xanthomas on the skin, high cholesterol can still build up in the body.
You can see high cholesterol
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What Are The Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
These events typically dont occur until high cholesterol leads to the formation of plaque in your arteries. Plaque can narrow arteries so less blood can pass through. The formation of plaque changes the makeup of your arterial lining. This could lead to serious complications.
A blood test is the only way to know if your cholesterol is too high. This means having a total blood cholesterol level above 240 milligrams per deciliter . Ask your doctor to give you a cholesterol test after you turn 20 years old. Then get your cholesterol rechecked every 4 to 6 years.
Your doctor may also suggest you have your cholesterol checked more frequently if you have a family history of high cholesterol. Or if you demonstrate the following risk factors:
- have high blood pressure
Negative Impact Of High Cholesterol
Studying cholesterol in older adults is trickier than it sounds, Martin says. Many people who have high cholesterol die from complications of heart disease before reaching an advanced age. Those who live into their 70s or 80s despite high cholesterol might have other factors that increased their longevity. That bias could skew the research results.
If someone has made it to that age and hasnt had problems from their cholesterol, they may have gotten lucky with genes or other protective factors, he says. But that doesnt mean high cholesterol is harmless or that their luck wont run out.
In addition, high cholesterol is one of many factors that work together to contribute to cardiovascular disease, along with elements such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and inactivity. Cholesterol might not always be the single most important factor, Martin says, but its a piece of the puzzle that patients and doctors should not ignore.
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High Cholesterol Is One Of Your Bodys Check Engine Lights
A cholesterol number of 250 or 300 means it is time to open the hood and give the engine a thorough inspection.
Blindly reducing your cholesterol number with statin drugs is like unplugging that check engine light.
Sure, that annoying red light is no longer there when you start your car in the morning, but the reason why that red light went on still remains.
Its up to you and your doctor whether you want to ignore the real problem under the hood.
This is why I called hasty, chop-chop statin therapy lazy medicine in a recent blog about Fish Oil & Red Yeast Rice.
Before I get drowned in hate mail, let me make the following statements very clear:
What if you dont fall into the above categories? Well, then, it is time to look under the hood.
If the only solutions your doctor knows for high cholesterol is to:
Ding-ding-ding! Its time to look for another doctor.
Some doctors a sad commentary will prescribe statin drugs even if the patient does not absolutely need it, to reduce the risk of negligent malpractice lawsuit. Sigh.
Good Ways To Control Bad Cholesterol
Lifestyle changes and medication are the two key ways to keep your LDL cholesterol under control. Be sure to check with your doctor before you start a new routine. Itâs also a good idea to get advice from a registered dietitian.
Some of the healthy habits you should adopt include reading food labels and choosing products lower in saturated fat. Eat lean poultry and fish as your major meat sources. Add lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains to your plate, too. Stay active. A moderate level of physical activity should be enough to help keep your numbers down.
If your doctor still finds your LDL cholesterol is still too high, they might prescribe a statin drug. Sometimes other drugs can help keep your levels in check, too.
Above all, itâs essential to recognize how cholesterol factors into heart disease and stroke. Develop new behavior patterns — and own them. As you make your changes, keep track of your levels. Continue to discuss your progress and management goals with your doctor.
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Normal Range Of Cholesterol Found Among Men : 0
Ideal values of Cholesterol depending on age :
|> 100 years
If you want your blood test report to be interpreted by Cholesterol specialist, then you can upload your report. Our Cholesterol expert will provide you with the most accurate interpretation of your blood test results and treatment within 12 hours. Upload blood test report now
Misconception: With Medications No Lifestyle Changes Are Needed
Medications can help control cholesterol levels, but making diet and lifestyle changes are the best way to reduce heart disease and stroke risk. To lower your cholesterol, eat a heart-healthy diet and get at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise a week.
Its also important to take your medication exactly as your doctor has instructed.
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Taking Time To Stay Active
If a person is not at a moderate weight or has obesity, they may have an increased risk of high LDL cholesterol. If a person is not very active and has a high body mass index , they may need to increase their activity levels.
Adults should aim to complete 150 minutes of physical activity a week. A weekly routine may include 30 minutes of exercise over 5 days. A person could try cardio, for example, such as brisk walking or running. Muscle-strengthening activities such as hill walking or resistance weight training may also help with maintaining moderate weight levels.
Medication May Be Needed
For some people, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough. High blood cholesterol levels often have a genetic component. Some people inherit altered genes that cause high cholesterol and this cannot usually be changed sufficiently by lifestyle or diet.
If you are at risk of coronary heart disease and your LDL cholesterol level doesnt drop after scrupulous attention to diet, your doctor may recommend medications to force your blood LDL levels down. Cell cholesterol levels, however, remain normal, so lowering blood cholesterol has no effect on most cell metabolic processes.
Some people get muscle aches from statins, which are the most commonly used medication to lower blood cholesterol. However, diet and exercise will still be important, even if you are taking medication. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist who treats cardiovascular disease.
How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease
Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, dont smoke. If you do smoke, make plans to quit now. Find ways to add physical activity to each of your days. Take steps to keep your weight in a healthy range. Eat well. Consider following the Mediterranean diet. It is the only diet proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Take care of any other medical conditions you might have by following your healthcare providers advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.
High Cholesterol Runs In Families
Sometimes your cholesterol will run high no matter what you do or how healthy your diet is. Such is the case with familial hypercholesterolemia, or genetic high cholesterol. Itâs common — about one in 250 people have it.
The condition happens because of a mutated gene that gets passed down in families. It can cause your bodyâs LDL cholesterol numbers to shoot up twice as much as the average. The good news is that doctors can catch it early. It can even be diagnosed at birth or early childhood.
Although lifestyle upgrades, improving your diet, and getting more exercise can help, you may still need medication to bring your levels down to reduce your risks of heart disease.
Robert Eckel, MD, president of medicine and science, American Diabetes Association past president, American Heart Association clinical professor emeritus, medicine-endocrinology/metabolism/diabetes, University of Colorado School of Medicine.
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